The 10 Most Wrong Things About Bill Cosby Asking The Black Media To Stay Neutral » VSB

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The 10 Most Wrong Things About Bill Cosby Asking The Black Media To Stay Neutral

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Last Friday, Bill Cosby finally broke his silence, praising his wife for standing by him and specifically asking Black media to be neutral.

There are a couple dozen levels of wrong with that request. Here are 10 of them.

1. He’s not actually asking for neutrality. He’s asking for apathy and willful ignorance.

2. “Black media” is an ambiguous term. Does it refer to all Black people working in some capacity of the media, or Black-run media organizations? (Or both?)

3. If we define “Black media” as “Black people working in media and people working for Black-run media organizations,” I know of quite a few Black people working in media and quite a few people working for Black-run media organizations who, because of Bill Cosby’s stature and the seriousness of these allegations, were excessively careful — deliberate, even — with reporting on this news. (Myself included.) I don’t know of anyone who has looked to make Bill Cosby’s fall a career-making story. And, even with the taste of the Pound Cake speech still on people’s tongues, I don’t know of anyone who’s happy to be reporting on and writing about any of this.

Basically, “Black media” has been very fair to Bill Cosby. By placing us in a position where we have to report on and write about the disgraceful fall of someone many of us held very dearly, Bill Cosby has not been fair to Black media.

4. A completely neutral and context-less look at this story would leave us with a man who has been accused of sexual assault by close to three dozen different women. If this man’s name was Will Losby instead of Bill Cosby, no one would be prepared to defend this man or give him the benefit of the doubt. A plea for Black media to go in with a “neutral mind” is a plea for Black media to consider who Bill Cosby is and what Bill Cosby has given to our culture when choosing to believe these allegations…basically the opposite of having a neutral mind.

5. Specifically asking Black media to stay neutral is a way of guilting Black people into having his back. It reinforces the popular conspiracy theory that these allegations are the product of “White” forces conspiring against him. And, not having his back in this circumstance is effectively selling out.

6. The ask for Black media to stand for and support him came the same weekend tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of New York City and Washington, D.C. to stand for and support the millions of anonymous Black men and women who could very well be the next Eric Garner or the next Michael Brown. To call this timing “inappropriate” would be like calling the Pacific Ocean a “puddle.”

7. If someone reminds you to take a shower, they’re not trying to be a spokesperson for responsible hygienic activity. They’re specifically telling you that you stink. Specifically reminding Black media to stay professional implies that Black media is inherently less professional than ‘White” media and needs to be reminded to be more professional.

8. If number #7 is true — and it is true then specifically asking Black media to be professional is just a distilled version of the Pound Cake speech.

9. I’m honestly not even sure what Cosby wants when he spoke of “neutrality.” Again, even if you insert no opinion into this story, the fact that somewhere between 20 and 35 different women have alleged that he either sexually assaulted them or attempted to sexually assault them is a fact. Does he — and others being the objectivity drum — want us to just withhold opinions or to stop reporting on actual facts?

10. These reminders about excellence and neutrality only came after he was under an unfavorable spotlight. If he was really that concerned about the media doing its job and being neutral, he would have spoken up years before these stories came to light, saying “Hey, Black media. There are some rumors swirling about me and sexual assault that you haven’t covered. I think you should cover them.” This isn’t a plea for fairness. It’s the bully asking for compassion while being teased by a bigger bully.

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • LJK

    Somewhere along the way, BC (so many puns that could be made of this) began to believe that non-Black America REALLY loved him a lot. Granted, they do, but the AP was the one to release the unedited video of him trying to threaten their reporter. Bill is truly cray y’all. How about we be neutral and not give him any pity for the crimes/heinous acts he committed. Where was his compassion when he was being an A-hole? Bye Bill!!!

    • Sigma_Since 93

      “Somewhere along the way, BC (so many puns that could be made of this)
      began to believe that non-Black America REALLY loved him a lot.”

      NOAP

      This reminds me of why Puffy used to keep a picture of OJ Simpson with him; it was a subtle reminder of how one minute you can be fully welcomed in non Black America company and the next cast aside like a used tissue. If Cos was melanin deficient, I still couldn’t see folks riding with him.

      • Word. Roethslisberger has way fewer cases, and he still gets shade. I think the sheer scale trumps all. This isn’t one woman accusing him. This is a freaking football team at this point.

        • Epsilonicus

          My HS team had 35 people on it.

    • That’s what is so audacious about Cosby’s request of the Black media. AP put him on blast by verbalizing what gestures he was making during the interview, yet he’s chastising Black media. He may couch it in terms of “neutrality,” but he’s really wagging his finger (yet again! This man ain’t gon’ learn to stop scolding Black folk) and shaming Black media for not rising to his standards of “neutrality.”

  • Angel Baby

    What’s the Pound Cake speech?

    • Angel Baby

      And I whole heartedly agree with #5 and #7!!! Preach Champ! Now that I’ve of course heard and read about the allegations against Bill… just SMH…sigh

      • Angel Baby

        Thanks Wu

        • No problem. He went full-on grumpy grandpa last decade and hasn’t turned back.

          • Angel Baby

            Yeah this is what everybody is talking about when they say he criticized Black people?

            • There were a series of “Call outs” held back in the 2000’s where he admonished the culture of lower-class blacks and pretended all of the communities issues could be solved by doing better while ignoring that things don’t happen in vacuums. Basic he did the tried and true American “back in the good old days” thing while simultaneously not acknowledging the good old days weren’t all that good.

              • Angel Baby

                Yeah ok I get it now. SMH

          • miss t-lee

            Yep. He doubled down on angry grandpa.

            • John McCain, Dick Gregory, Clint Eastwood, Steve Spurrier, and Dick Cheney paid for all of his drinks at the Angry Old Man Meetings after that.

      • Rachmo

        Okay I remember this now. *shakes cane at the troublesome YOUTHS*

        • In somewhat fairness to Bill, dudes like him have been making speeches like that since speech was invented. Still, in light of the allegations, this seems a bit… SHAAAADY!

          • Angel Baby

            Yeah that’s why I felt the way I did every time Champ has written about him. I didn’t know about the rapes and didn’t listen in detail about what he was saying about the Black community. I just thought he was being an older guy who was tired and felt the need to speak up.
            Not that he was being a hypocrite if he never really had any morals himself. I’m not saying people who did bad things can’t know right from wrong….but they really shouldn’t step on soapboxes and be critical of others. Leave that to the people who have had time for their trials to be known and redeemed themselves before they go speaking out.

          • It’s kind of funny, but the reaction to Bill Cosby’s pound cake speech was what helped me realize that the biggest concentration of power in the black community was in academia, not entertainment. No black billionaire could have brought Cosby down like black academics did after that speech.

            • Meridian

              You think so? I don’t think entertainment is a crux of power but I recognize that majority of people will be more drawn to it than academia, so that kind of pull is at least something akin to power.

              • Well, it’s a matter of margins.

                Celebrities have a ton of influence, but the cost is privacy and a loss of freedom, which is why we’re having this convo. They are also slaves to public opinion, thus a talented journalist or writer can bring their career down pretty quickly.

                However, look for example at Alvin F. Poussaint, the doctor and academic who more so than anyone else created the purposeful idea of the Cosby show (& A Different World) as a positive propaganda show for black people. He got paid big time, and didn’t have to pay much for it. He also still maintains a lot of political influence, and is pretty much a textbook Black Aristocrat.

                In the long run, it’s better to be a Henry Kissinger than a Richard Nixon.

                • Meridian

                  *nods head* Having influence over masses of people is something that can be easily lost if their opinion/perception of you changes. Power to me is being able to define things for that mass, which, it doesn’t matter if they like you or not. It’s almost an invisible position.

                • badphairy

                  Ooooh, nice. A very important distinction to make.

          • Wild Cougar

            I don’t know why people don’t recognize the clear pattern of the black preacher/politician pillar of the community that’s doing all kinds of foul ish because nobody is gonna challenge the pillar of the community and his status as the pillar of the community gives him access to trusting victims. Its a demonic modus operendi, these men do everything to create and protect a pristine image so they can get away with abuse. We’ve all seen it before in our communities, just not with someone so loved by whites. Until now. The Catholics have a whole cadre of these devils.

        • …and stay offa my damn lawn!!

      • BlackSnake

        Yeah, this. The problem I’ve always had with it is that he was offering overly simplistic solutions for very complex issues.that sometimes invisible, institutional and most times generational. ANYONE can identify a problem – that takes very little effort. What are you doing to SOLVE the problem??? I know he has dozens of scholarships in his name to help young people but what about mentoring a young person to ensure they get to college? Given these accusations, forget the mentoring part….

        Nah Bill, you’re on your own. All your favors were used up long ago. Oh and pack a cool shirt. I hear it gets warm where you are headed.

  • Tentpole

    What Cosby is attempting to say is if you don’t know the facts, then stop reporting like you do. Reality check, if the women are lying, nothing will happen to them. They get to go back into their space. Cosby on the other hand has already been convicted in the court of public opinion. If these accusations are true, then lets push Cosby off the cliff otherwise let’s stop acting like this is a reality show.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      “What Cosby is attempting to say is if you don’t know the facts, then stop reporting like you do. Reality check, “if the women are lying, nothing will happen to them”

      Bill’s not really ready to play that card. Folks start looking at hotel surveillance tapes and travel schedules along with the method and there may be more truths that manifest themselves.

    • LJK

      “Reality check, if the women are lying, nothing will happen to them. They get to go back into their space. Cosby on the other hand has already been convicted in the court of public opinion.”

      Come again?!? Why would these women put their livelihoods on the line after suffering in silence for so long? Most of these women have also been tried in the court of public opinion; but unfortunately, many of them don’t have wealth to fall back on.

    • People are going to base their opinions based on the information that is readily available. Cosby hasn’t provided much information to counter what these ladies have said, which is why he’s in the position that he is in. Objectivity doesn’t exist in the media, everything is about narrative and imagery.

    • Wild Cougar

      Translation: the word of 22 women don’t add up to the word of one man because women lie.

      • Tentpole

        That’s your translation. Out of 22 women, there is no creditable facts to support their claim from at least one woman. We know nothing about this situation except what is being said. I want the facts before I start to throw someone under the bus.

        • Val

          There’s one credible fact; twenty-two women have accused him of drugging and either raping them or attempting to rape them.

        • Jetty

          what exactly are credible facts? Especially given how domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault were dealt with until very recently. Like what exactly are you asking for…. Do you know the percentages of rapes reported and convictions achieved even present day?

        • badphairy

          If there were no credible facts, then why did he settle the case brought against him? He could have had his vindication in a real court of law…but he didn’t. That sounds to me like he didn’t like how the verdict was going to sound.

          There are several examples of the lawyers for various women basically saying to them ‘This is America’s Father Figure and you’re just a damned woman. Go away.’

    • JR

      He gets to go back into his space, too. His career and his public reputation have been ruined, but all that hurts is his pride. He’s still a free millionaire with a loving family who supports him, which is a huge miscarriage of justice if even 5 of the 25+ allegations are true.

  • skinnynow

    Instead of coming out and simply saying, “I didn’t do it,” he finds a way to belittle those of us in the media. The media (as a whole, not a section) has reported on the allegations. The allegations have gained increasing amounts of merit because the accuser refuses to reply. Every time he’s given the chance, he turns it around on the questioner.

    In short: don’t come for “black media” until you have something to say.

    • LJK

      Because gawd forbid the media and Black reporters actually do their job. *Gasps*

  • Medium Meech

    I don’t think that word means what he thinks it means. He doesn’t realize how preferential the treatment he’s getting is based on the goodwill America has for him. Impartially and objectively speaking, the media’s treatment of him vs the severity of the accusations against him is very favorable to him vs other celebrities. The scale of what he is being accused of is literally bigger than the Ben Rothlisberger, Adrian Petterson, Ray Rice, Tiger Woods, Michael Vick and the UVA scandals combined. I don’t think the media treatment and public condemnation has been as harsh as any one of those individually.

    • Andrea

      Good point.

    • Andrea

      BTW….Just wanted to let you know. I also made a good point about last nite’s RHOA episode. THIRTY-FIVE upvotes. (not including Myself). ****Ignore me i’m an idiot***

      • Medium Meech

        Lol. I’m not sure where to go with this, but for some reason I found it hilarious.

      • badphairy

        I think I’m going to start using that caveat :)

    • Mr. Sam

      @Medium Meech, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!!! You articulated PERFECTLY my frustrations over this! I had a friend who was all like: “if it had been Woody Allen or any number of other celebrities, nobody would have said anything” and I recall Woody Allen catching SERIOUS (nowhere enough, but still serious) flack the moment Dylan Farrow spoke up. With Cosby, there were 6 public accusations, and a dozen unpublished (the Jane Does who were prepared to testify for Andrea Constand) as early as 2006, and it was swept under the rug for another near-decade. I can’t name a celebrity who came anywhere NEAR to getting away with something on that scale.

      • hkguy

        In Woody Allen’s case, a police investigation exonerated him. The recent spate of hate from the Farrow camp notwithstanding, there are several holes in Dylan Farrow’s story.

        As of now, not only there has been no solid evidence to refute any of the women’s accusations against Cosby, but someone who worked on the set of The Cosby Show gave the New York Post a detailed description of how Cosby seduced women. The guy, who was very young at the time, said once he realized once he was going on, he resigned because he felt guilty about being a part of the apparatus that enabled Cosby’s actions. He produced several documents to back up his allegations.

  • Meridian

    Since this all started, I’ve maintained that the women speaking out should be supported in doing so and that if these things are true, he should face some kind of accountability for his actions. I haven’t participated in the jokes, memes, witch hunts, the sullying of his legacy, the blind hatred and kneejerk chastising of his character. I believe that’s what he’s addressing. Now. Okay. I haven’t participated in it because I just think it’s too serious of a matter to be reduced to such things, but this rubs me awl kinds of wrong for HIM to be asking people to stop.

    “This isn’t a plea for fairness. It’s the bully asking for compassion while being teased by a bigger bully.”

    Pretty much. It’s a man who is clearly in the wrong, in all of his wrong as f*ckness, asking people to not call him out for it. It’s him requesting that he be allowed to skate unscathed and untouched in his f*cksh*t. Don’t try to silence people for speaking on your indiscretions bro. Don’t ask the public to look the other way so you can pretend nothing ever happened. N*gga probably has his 47th victim tied up in his basement right now talking bout some “don’t sniff too close to home on this one you guys.”

    While I am of the mind that these things should be dealt with in a spirit neutrality, it’s extremely unsettling for the r*pist to be asking for partiality.

    • JG

      “Don’t try to silence people for speaking on your indiscretions bro. ”
      OK! Nice try Bill, but no.

  • Vanity in Peril

    On the train this morning a young thug with a Gucci belt and his pants hanging off his ass told me to have a good day (after trying to holler, but still)and I thought of Willie Cosby and smiled. How you gonna require respectability politics while ur pudding pop is in the mouth of some passed out poor woman!? Nucka, please.

  • minxbrie

    Maybe it’s because I’ve never considered Bill Cosby a father figure, but he can shut the hell up. This is literally Entitlement 101, where he feels he is owed something by the Black community and instead of being accountable, he places the onus on everyone but himself. Please. The media has been very gentle with him; even taking the opportunity to talk about how racism effects our perceptions of these stories (ie. Vs that dude from 7th Heaven). What more does he want? A full on rally?

  • Val

    I HATE it when people accuse Black folks of using the “race card”. And that’s why I’ve never accused anyone of using said “race card”. That is until now. Bill Cosby is without a doubt attempting to use the “race card”.

    I lost a whole lot of respect for Bill Cosby after the “Pound cake Speech.” What little respect I still had was gone after all of these allegations. Now, he just seems like a desperate old perv trying to call in favors. Pathetic.

    • Agreed! The pound cake speech lowered Cosby in my estimation because it showed me he’s not really about supporting blacks. He’s about supporting his kind of blacks, the ones who are probably already going to succeed because they’re educated and come from supportive families. Has he ever mentored a young hood kid? Sponsored a Boys & Girls Club? Given an inspirational speech to elementary kids who haven’t yet strayed onto the wrong path? Nope. So he can get off my lawn. I don’t feel bad for anyone who takes advantage of the trust placed in him to further his own twisted need for dominance.

      • Brad

        You know for a fact that he never did any of these things?

        • Do you know for a fact that he has? If so, please share. But that still won’t change my opinion on the core issue, which is that he is very likely a sexual predator.

          • Brad

            Nope, actually I don’t know if he has ever donated or mentored kids from the hood or not.

            But, aside from the rape allegations I have often heard this criticism of Cosby. It goes all the way back to The Cosby show when people said that the show didn’t represent a “real” black family.

            But, as I have been told the rape allegations are about not throwing stones in glass houses.

            • Don’t get me wrong. The black experience is varied, and I loved The Cosby Show & ADW because they reflected me and my family. But if you’re going to make it your mission to criticize certain segments of the community without extending a helping hand, you’re part of the problem. Especially when you have the kinds of influence and resources to really make an impact.

              • Brad

                I can see your point sis, I can see your point…

    • Medium Meech

      And it’s always the absolute worst people that think that all other black people are whining about the legitimate race issues they and their brethren face until the slightest thing happens to them, and then the whole world is racist and against them. Bill Cosby has just completed the trinity along with Clarence Thomas and Skip Gates of the most loathsome, self hating and hypocritical of black men. And to consistently and knowingly present yourself as a trusted father figure to these young women with every intention of raping them… it honestly just made everything he pretended to stand for even more reprehensible because he used it as a front to rape people’s daughters. I pride myself on being objective but I viscerally hate this man and I’ll even admit my eyes welling up even typing what he did to all those girls.

      • Damon Young

        why do you put skip gates with that group?

        • Epsilonicus

          I had the same question

        • badphairy

          Thirded said confusion.

        • Medium Meech

          He has always been considered conservative on issues of Race for his field among academics and that was highlighted in his NY Times op-ed about reparations and slavery. But one minor police issue happens and then he is down of the cause.

      • Wild Cougar

        He is absolutely the worst type of person in the entire world. #nohyperbole

      • Val

        I feel Don Lemon fits in there somewhere too.

  • Yeah, that pretty much sums in up. This isn’t the era of the Amsterdam News and the Chicago Defender Bill. Black media is a large, mature multifaceted beast these days. Heck, that so many people on here can throw shade at Don Lemon and Charles Barkley speaks volumes. Other than that, I just think he realizes he’s hit the end. There’s no way to honestly answer all of those allegations except with maybe a claim to mental health issues.

    Bye Bill. Your contribution will be missed, no matter how much you did to sully it.

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